Celebrating with Eau de Tap

0.0000704225353521126761 cents per word. More or less.

Amazon pays bonuses to authors who publish their books on Vella. The amount depends on the number of pages read. I just received a notice about my May 2022 bonus. Ten dollars! Woo-hoo! For a book that’s about 140k long.

How shall I spend this windfall? Go to Bali? Go to Capri? Buy an original Van Gogh?

Can’t even afford a glass.

This is not the first bonus I’ve received. It’s just the smallest one because someone read seventy-nine pages of my book. I received bigger monthly bonuses when my kind cousin-in-law, and maybe somebody else, was reading A Home for an Exile’s Heart. I think the highest bonus I got was sixty bucks.

Mostly, it’s my own fault. I haven’t done enough to publicize my novel. My efforts have been pretty sporadic at best. I don’t want to do PR. I want to write but when you self-publish, you don’t have much choice. Even traditionally published authors have to do a lot of their own book promotions. Fortunately, I just found out that one of my friends on Facebook publicizes books on her site. She urged me to send her a blurb and a link to A Home for an Exile’s Hearts Vella page. I did so but I don’t know what she will do or when. I’d love to leave it all in her hands but I’ll have to do my own PR, too.

When you self-publish, you also have to design your own cover. Even with millions of stock photos available for free, it’s hard to find exactly the right one. On a $0.00 budget, I had to settle for “close enough” images.

This was my first choice. My main character, Līvija (Lee-vee-ya) Galiņa (Guh-lyñ-ah) an exile from the Soviet invasion of Latvia in 1944, is walking home from work on the snowy evening the day after Thanksgiving, 1952. Even without houses, this scene could pass for a street on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. There’s a park on the hill so she could be walking past it. However, this image was too small and busy to look like anything but a vague mess in the cameo frame it has to fit into on Vella. I had to find a more simple image.

Courtship is a dance of love, intriguing and seductive. In one chapter my characters, Līvija and her hero, Cameron Quinn, a former fighter pilot who saves her from an out-of-control car on that snowy night, dance the tango.

Not a perfect match but it will have to do.

One of these days, I will have to turn my novel into a paperback. More nitpicky work I’d rather not do but I don’t have much choice. I have to wait for my book to have been available on Vella for thirty days before I can offer it as a paperback. When will that be? Who knows? I have yet to finish revising the last chapter in order to publish it. Since so few people have been reading Exile I haven’t been motivated to wrap up that final chapter.

The last chapter may not be ready to go, but I have a tentative design for the cover.

If only I were an artist, too.

It’s time to stop lollygagging and finish that chapter, publish it, and start publicizing my book. Writing it was a labor of love but it was hard work nevertheless. I can’t let it all go to waste.

Love at First Sight. For Real?

Love at first sight, followed by happily ever after, is a popular trope in romance novels but is it something that can only happen in fiction?

The two main characters, a World War II Latvian refugee and an American fighter pilot, in my novel, A Home for an Exile’s Heart fall in love at the first touch of their hands as they gaze into each other’s eyes and sparks fly. My Latvian beta reader thought that was unrealistic. In fiction, it happens all the time but can it happen in real life? I told my reader my favorite anecdote about a true life love at first sight story. This is how I remember hearing it so my words may not be exact but the facts are.

They made beautiful music together may be a cliche but it can happen.

Internationally famous Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich was being interviewed on a radio show about his marriage to opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya.

Host: “Mr. Rostropovich, I understand that you and your wife married a week after you first met.”

Rostropovich: “Yes. It was a big mistake.”

Host, taken aback, stammers, “A m-mistake?”

Rostropovich: “Yes. We wasted a whole week.”

I love this story. Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya were married for fifty-two years, until his death. Though it may be rare, love at first sight, followed by a happily ever after does happen in real life.

The flowers may fade but not the love.

Most of the time, it seems to me, a declaration of love can be premature. Some guy I once dated said that he loved me way too soon. I was not enchanted or bowled over. I said that he hardly knew me so how could he possibly love me? We hadn’t had any deep discussions or revelations of the secrets of our hearts. But he kept on declaring his love. Ove and over and over. Bleh. Maybe if he’d been the right guy I’d have been more receptive, even delighted. My advice, don’t date someone just because you’re lonely, bored, or depressed. Under such circumstances a “happily ever after” ain’t likely. If you meet a gem like Rostropovich or Vishnevskaya, go for it. Don’t settle for a rhinestone.

Life’s a bowl of cherry pits but at least the beer’s not flat.

How do the love birds in my novel know they’ve found someone they can love forever? There’s an immediate sense of familiarity as if they’ve known each other forever. During their first evening together, they spend hours just talking. They open their hearts, tell each other things they’ve never told anyone else, things that reveal character.

As Shakespeare said, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” It certainly can’t in a novel, so it doesn’t in A Home for an Exile’s Heart.

A toast to love.

Quote: Blaise Pascal & a Little More

Pascal, 1623 – 1662 was a French mathematician, philosopher, physicist, inventor, writer, and a Catholic theologian

The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.

Hearts want what they want. Both characters in my novel, A Home for an Exile’s Heart, former fighter pilot Cameron Quinn and Latvian refugee, Līvija Galiņa have unruly hearts which are impervious to reason.

In 1944 war widow Līvija and her family, unwilling to live under a brutal tyranny, escape from Latvia ahead of the invading Soviet army. After six years of drifting through Europe, like flotsam on the tides of history Līvija washes ashore in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Līvija has been living in Seattle for nearly a year when on the snowy day after Thanksgiving she is nearly run down by an out-of-control car that skids on an icy street and jumps the curb. Her neighbor, dashing fighter pilot, Cameron Quinn pushes her out of the way of the oncoming vehicle, saving her life.

Their attraction is immediate.

To read their story you can go to Kindle Vella. I’ve published only twenty-two chapters so far. If there’s sufficient interest, I’ll publish the rest of the chapters. The first few “episodes” are free.